Significant reduction in CO2 emissions possible in the production of road signs 

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    Local authorities in the Amsterdam region are working together to replace environmentally harmful traffic signs in the region with circular models.

    The assignment

    • Client: Zaanstad local authority, with Almere and Gooise Meren local authorities
    • Project: to supply road signs (and accessories)
    • Tendering procedure: European public
    • Awarding: February 2021

    Traditional aluminium road signs: you might not think much about them, but their production is especially harmful to the environment. Energy consumption is high and fossil fuels are needed for production.

    The Zaanstad, Almere and Gooise Meren local authorities have come together to impose a functional demand on the market. The aim? To reduce CO2 emissions by purchasing road signs that are more sustainable then traditional models.

    Accomplished impact of the project

    • Reused signs: 80%
    • Biobased signs: 20%
    • Expected reduction in CO2 emissions: 180,340 kilos over a period of 4 years 

    These three factors made the project a success

    • Focus on existing materials 
      In the tender, the local authorities focused on the use of existing materials. This choice proved successful as the production of road signs now generates considerably less CO2. 
    • Insight through plenary dialogue
      The local authorities arranged a plenary market consultation in the preliminary phase. This proved to be a smart move – not only did the session provide insight into the feasibility of the wishes and requirements, but also into ways of turning the request into reality.
    • Scale through joint purchasing 
      Different local authorities coming together has created a larger assignment overall. The guaranteed purchase has given the winning supplier a greater incentive to invest in sustainable choices. 

    Tips for similar projects

    1. Ensure focus in the tender. 
      Circular ambitions can be very broad. But broad tenders usually yield very little. Make choices – which topics are important, and why? Market parties then know what they need to offer and can prepare feasible quotations. 
    1. Keep control of finances.
      Consider setting a ceiling or maximum amount for the assignment. That way, you can make sure that suppliers don’t exceed the available budget with their sustainable proposal. 
    1. Think carefully about what needs to be in the contract.
      Involve the contract manager at an early stage in the process. He/she will be able to advise on how the contract should be put together to safeguard the sustainable ambitions. It can be a good idea to state in the contract what the supplier needs to achieve in each year of the contract. That way, you increase the likelihood of the supplier keeping its promises. 

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